Coffee is a beverage obtained from coffee plant’s fruit called cherry. The plant is covered with green, waxy leaves growing opposite each other in pairs. Coffee cherries grow along the branches and ripen simultaneously. The coffee plant takes about 5 years of growth to reach full fruit production. They are generally the most productive between the ages of 7 and 20, while coffee plants can live up to 100 years.

In the commercial coffee industry, there are two important coffee species — Arabica and Robusta.

Arabica is discovered in Ethiopia and now it is grown in Brazil and Colombia too. These trees produce a fine, mild, aromatic coffee and the beans are flatter and more elongated than Robusta. Arabica represent approximately 70% of the world’s coffee production and bring the highest prices in the market.

Robusta is grown in Brazil, Central and Western Africa, parts of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia and Vietnam. The Robusta bean itself tends to be slightly rounder and smaller than an Arabica bean. Production of Robusta accounts for about 30% of the world market.


Ethiopia is known to be the birth place for all Arabica coffee and best known for their complexity with pungent, complex flavor notes, winey quality and distinct wildness in their acidity. The Economy is highly dependent on coffee as it sustains the livelihood for 15 million people in Ethiopia and as it contributes more than 25% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

Ethiopian coffees tend to be grown at middle-high to very-high altitudes, resulting in a hard-bean type, with intense flavors and aromatics. Fruit flavors are common in all regions, though the specific fruit character varies from region to region.

Ethiopia follows mainly three types of Coffee Production Systems such as Forest Coffee, Semi-forest coffee and Garden (plantation) coffee. Ethiopia is home to large quantities of coffee in both of the world’s two major production styles: Sun-dried natural, and fully washed.

Ethiopia stands in front of coffee producers and exporters in Africa and one of the leading in the world with the harvest season from October to January.


Harrar coffee (Altitude = 1500 – 2120)

Harrar comprises the eastern most of the coffee-growing regions of Ethiopia. It is subdivided into four smaller regions: East Harrar, West Harrar, Bale, and Arsi. The climate is dryer and warmer than in western or southern Ethiopia. To
the east, north, and south of the coffee growing regions of Harrar lie large, dry deserts.

The roads in the coffee regions of eastern Ethiopia tend to follow the ridges of the mountain ranges, at a higher elevation than coffee will grow at.The city of Dire Dawa is the major trade and transportation hub for all of eastern Ethiopia, and the center of Harrar coffee business.

Coffee Characteristics

Practically all coffee from Harrar is sun-dried natural.Quality Harrar coffees are notable for a fruity characteristic and a creamy body. The finest Harrar coffees have a distinct note of blueberry, though many other fruity and fruit-like aromatic flavors can occur. Because of soil type in East Harrar one kind of differentiated coffee is the “Amber bean” or “Golden bean”. Harrar coffee is highest premium coffee in the world

  • Color = greenish-yellow
  • Acidity = Medium
  • Body = full
  • Flavor = Mocha

Sidamo coffee (Altitude = 1500m – 2200m)

The region of Sidamo often spelled “Sidama” is in southern Ethiopia which contains the towns of Hawassa, Yirga Alem, and Dila. It encompasses many individual origins, including, geographically, the area of Yirgacheffe. However, Yirgacheffe is classified as its own separate origin of coffee.

The coffee growing regions of Sidama lie in the famous Great Rift Valley that runs through Ethiopia and Kenya. Sidamo coffee beans are harvested from high-altitude region of Ethiopia, take longer to mature which allow the plants and beans to absorb more nutrients from the fertile soil of this region.

Hawassa is the main arrival center for Sidama, though some coffees are sold through the hub of Soddo.

Coffee Characteristics

Sidama features many different grades of both washed and unwashed coffees with an extraordinarily wide variety of coffee flavors, and there can be striking differences from town to town.

High grade unwashed Sidama coffees are known for their intense fruity characteristics, while being of somewhat lighter body and even the washed coffees often retain a salient fruity characteristic, while having much more clarity and brightness than their unwashed

  • Color = greenish-grayish
  • Acidity = Fine
  • Body = Medium
  • Flavor = Sweet

Yirgacheffe Coffee (Altitude = 1900m – 2200m)

Yirgacheffe is a small region within the larger region of Sidama. However, Yirgacheffe coffees are so distinct and so well recognized internationally that they are grouped into their own special category. With the growth of the specialty industry, it has also become something a travelling spot for international buyers who seek out top quality coffees.

Coffee Characteristics

Yirgacheffe Ethiopian coffee is known for its delicate sweet, citrus and floral notes. It’s often described as tea-like due to its clean, light body.Top grade Yirgacheffe coffees share many characteristics with the best Sidama coffees. Fruit flavors, a bright acidity, and a silky mouth feel are some of its hallmarks.

Yirgacheffe produces both washed and unwashed coffees while it originally became famous mostly for its washed coffees.The delivery center for all Yirgachefe coffees is the nearby large town of Dilla.

  • Color = greenish-yellow
  • Acidity = Bright
  • Body = Medium
  • Flavor = Flora

Djimmah coffee (Altitude = 1600m – 2200m)

Djimmah encompasses Ethiopia’s largest basket of unwashed coffees which included all unwashed coffee produced in the southwestern region of Ethiopia.

In the area of Bonga, a town in the Kaffa zone, farms growing high quality Arabica coffee. It has suitable Agro-ecological conditions for specialty coffee production. Its altitude is between 1600 and 1900 meters the soil is red in color, the precipitation is high, and temperatures are conducive for coffee production.

Coffee Characteristics

A unique coffee, thought to be the variety closest in flavour to the original wild plant. Its mild character is offset by a subtle gamey aftertaste. Rich, earthy, with notes of dark cocoa, walnut.Full of flavor, low acidity and good chocolate aftertaste.

  • Color = greenish(variable)
  • Acidity = Low
  • Body = Heavy
  • Flavor = chocolate, wine

Limu coffee (Altitude = 1100m – 1900m)

Limu coffee grows in the southwest of Ethiopia between 1100 and 1900 meter altitude. The politically defined zone is named Jimma. Limu, on the other hand, is typical coffee flavor found in jimma and its neighboring zone, illubabor.

Coffee Characteristics

Limu coffees are generally all washed, has a milder acidity than Sidama and Yirgacheffe; the flavor is generally characterized by its winey aftertaste, this washed coffee delivers avibrant, balnced cup with sharp acidity and a classic balanced taste. Traditionally, Limu coffees marketed under that name have been processed washed; the unwashed Limu coffees have normally been offered under the Jimma category

  • Color = greenish-bluish
  • Acidity = Low
  • Body = Medium
  • Flavor = wine,spice

Nekempti coffee (Altitude = 1600m – 2200m)

Nekempti also known as Lekempti, is a region located within the state of Wellega, the highland area in the Southwestern part of Ethiopia with more rainfall. The coffee actually originates further west in East Wollega, also called “Misraq Wellega”, which is the Gimbi woreda. Gimbi is often grouped together with the adjacent Lekempti.

Coffee Characteristics

Originally, Lekempti is a sun-dried natural bean produced in western Ethiopia. But washed processing type is introduced lately. The coffee is known for its large bean size, and the flavor can have a pronounced perfume-like aftertaste.

  • Color = greenish-brownish
  • Acidity = Medium
  • Body = Bold
  • Flavor = Fruit


SMM IMPORT AND EXPORT is doing an extensive market research to start supply of green coffee bean from different regions of Ethiopia, the birthplace and supplier of distinctive Arabica coffee beans. Our company is very much near to start the export of coffee shortly after finalizing its marketing research.